Ingredients in Use: Hydrocolloids
Such a SquareMarketers are still forging ahead with products in the lucrative children's food sector. ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., rolled out a kid's meal inspired by the cartoon Sponge Bob Square Pants under its Kid Cuisine brand. The meal includes character-shaped breaded chicken patties, green sour apple-flavored applesauce, corn, and yellow sponge cake with a red frosting packet. The box also has character cut outs on the back, and Sponge Bob and Patrick on the front.
The breading covering the patties contains guar gum, which helps to keep the patties moist and contributes to good product texture. Xanthan gum, a component of the frosting in the red packet is used for its viscosity-adding characteristics.
www.conagrafoods.com — Company home page
www.preparedfoods.com/archives/2002/2002_9/0902coats.htm — Article on the use of hydrocolloids to assist with batter and breading adherence
Turning JapaneseJumping onto the bowl bandwagon is Small Planet Foods' Cascadian Farm brand, Sedro-Woolley, Wash., Teriyaki Veggie and Chicken Bowl, made up of “rice, vegetables and seasoned dark meat chicken strips with Teriyaki sauce.” The package features a starburst with the words: “Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth Certified Organic,” and the company spends a good amount of space on the back of the package explaining why organic is better.
Another claim on the package is, “The Chicken in this Entrée is An Excellent Source of Protein,” to reassure the consumer that she did, indeed, pick a healthy product for her family. The entrée has 4g of fat and 240 calories, and features xanthan gum and carrageenan. The gums play a key role in thickening and stabilizing the teriyaki sauce, and xanthan gum, especially, adds elevated “cling” properties. Again, the role the gums play in allowing meat to bind water and to withstand the freeze/thaw cycle is key. Hydrocolloids, generally, offer products better heat shock resistance.
Dream a Little DreameryMany will agree that the Banana Split addition to Edy's Grand Ice Cream's, Oakland, Calif., Dreamery line is every bit as rich and tasty as the existing flavors. The guar gum used in the product helps to stabilize the ice cream, and protect it from forming crystals that are the result of continuous free/thaw cycles during the distribution cycle. Carrageenan is another hydrocolloid used to help give the ice cream the proper body and a gratifying, smooth mouthfeel.
What a Blast!Ore Ida, Boise, Idaho, a subsidiary of the H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, Pa., introduced a new snack under its Hot Bites Blasts brand. The bite-sized bagels are stuffed with three cheeses: mozzarella, cheddar and Monterey Jack, and come 14-15 per package. The products are made with 100% cheese and said to satisfy “your big snack craving.”
The methylcellulose featured in the product helps the cheeses bind water, as well as contributes to improved body and texture. Also, methylcellulose protects the product's cellular structure during the freeze/thaw process, and helps the dough retain its moisture and, thus, extend its shelf life. Hydrocolloids add viscosity to bakery products, resulting in better volume and texture.
Poured OverTapping into the notion that consumers enjoy participating in the preparation of their meals and snacks, ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., launched cheddar butter popcorn under its Orville Redenbacher's brand in Canada. The popcorn features pouches of cheddar butter that can be poured over the popcorn once it is popped. The ingredient label features xanthan gum in the product, which helps the butter, oils and other ingredients cling to the kernels, and then to the popcorn once it pops. Additionally, xanthan gum helps give the popcorn a good texture.
Sidebar: Investigating HydrocolloidsPrepared Foods magazine has been in print, under various titles reflecting the changing nature of the food industry, for over a 100 years. A few readers may remember “Canner Packer” or “Food Development” magazine…those are predecessors of the current Prepared Foods.
More importantly, there are archived articles (back to 1994) online at www.PreparedFoods.com that can be searched using a keyword search field on the home page. With our focus on food development and ingredient use, dozens to hundreds of articles can be found by typing in words such as “hydrocolloid,” “stabilizer,” xanthan,” “alginate” or their plural forms. Here are a few examples of past articles:
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1997/1559.htm - Discusses formulation advantages of mixing starches and gums
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1997/1967.htm - Carrageenan and locust bean gum formulating tips
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1997/1858.htm - Konjac flour formulation characteristics
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/2002/2002_6/0602rd_hydrocolloids.htm - Tips for formulating with hydrocolloids
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1999/9903/9903staling.htm - Tactics to reduce baked goods staling including alginate use
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/2002/2002_3/0302ingredients.htm - New 2002 products and their use of modified starches
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1997/1372.htm - Article touches on the ability of proteins and gums to bind and provide adhesion
www.PreparedFoods.com/archives/1997/1854.htm - Discussion of hydrocolloid gum and emulsifier use in homogenized foods and beverages